MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is on the brink of U.S. approval after a major clinical trial demonstrated its efficacy and safety. PTSD, affecting nearly 4% of people globally at some stage, is mainly treated with antidepressants in the U.S., which address symptoms but not the root cause. MDMA, known colloquially as ecstasy, has shown potential in aiding patients to access and process traumatic memories in therapy. Following successful trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could greenlight this treatment in the coming year.
- A large clinical trial has found MDMA-assisted psychotherapy effective and safe for treating PTSD, paving the way for potential U.S. approval.
- While antidepressants are the primary treatment for PTSD in the U.S., they only alleviate symptoms and don’t tackle the underlying cause. MDMA helps dampen fear responses and facilitates more open dialogue during therapy sessions.
- In the recent study involving a diverse group, 71.2% of participants given MDMA no longer met PTSD diagnostic criteria after three therapy sessions, compared to 47.6% in the placebo group.
- The FDA has already designated MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a “breakthrough therapy” in 2017, expediting its path to potential approval.
- Australia became the world’s first country to permit MDMA prescription for PTSD with psychological support earlier in June.